Good morning. How are you? I hope you had a mellow weekend. (I realize that the word mellow has been appearing on this blog a lot lately, but it is my absolute top desire in life right now... so I wish it for you, as well.) I also know that I've been a very sporadic blogger of late. The Monster Book is getting very close to being ready for the printer (and it's already on Amazon, sort of.) After that, I'll write more often again, and we'll find some new things to do together. For now, I want to give you a little photographic glimpse into the book design process. Why? Because 344 LOVES YOU


Meet the Master Stack of Annotated Printouts. I received this from Amy The Editor, last Saturday. This, along with the list of design tweaks from Grace The Art Director, is my giant to-do list. You can see that it's already well thumbed after a week. The whole thing is arranged in four segments, because I didn't have a big enough elephant clip to make it one big brick. As it turns out, slimmer stacks are easier to navigate anyway, so that worked out well.


Between the sample pages and the first draft I somehow got all the A.M.s and P.M.s formatted wrong on every single page. (There are at least 4 on every page.) As it turns out, small caps are all the rage now, and nobody told me. I was able to switch them all out via InDesign's advanced Find/Replace command, but I couldn't quite figure out how to adjust the kerning automatically, too. So these are the little notes that help me keep the kerning consistent from page to page, as I slog through it manually. (Of course, these are just guides. Following a seven, I only track the P at 100 instead of 140. 140 would be just crazy following a 7.) Did I mention that all these bits run at 7 points?


On the left, you see the hopeful fortune cookie message that guides me right now. In the middle, you have the settings for the cast shadow on the time stamp tag on each spread. On the right (in a fetching red and black on orange combination) are the ten spreads I had to redesign for better legibility and that now require new hand-lettering. I had to redesign just shy of twenty spreads, but half of them worked with the existing lettering. (95% of all that is finished, scanned, and chopped into individual files as of earlier today, by the way.)


Finally, here's our old pal the Master Book Map again (with a Krylon-tastic postcard from and by Victoria peaking out from underneath.) All the red dotted pages are done. All the other pages still need some fine-tooth-comb attention in terns of kerning. All of the pages still need to be outfitted with the hand-lettering. So there's a lot left to do, but it'll work out. I have another week...

In the meantime, Kenn and Tim and Jen are still hard at work on the DVD. It'll be spiffy!

And just because all work and no play makes Stefan a dull boy, here are a few seconds of explicit hummingbird threesome action. There is no sound, so just hum to yourself as you watch. I suggest "Walking On Sunshine," or possibly "Walk On The Wildside." Or how about "Oh Yeah"? (Enjoy it here in the "Secret of My Success" version with Greek subtitles.)

I filmed the birds on my porch on Saturday. Please excuse the herky-jerky camera movements. These birds are complete junkies and they act the part. They usually dive bomb each other as they reenact WWII aerial battles. Or they get into nectar turf wars with the bees. So to have three of them sharing a relatively peaceful moment is rare. There was no time for me to grab the tripod. I tried to stabilize the motion in AfterEffects, but that'll only get you so far, especially when you don't really know what you're doing.

If you desire additional entertainment, my friend Jed just started a blog called Last Night on E.R. Yes, it's all E.R., all the time. But it's really not, of course. As he puts it, it's about the Big Show. Jed was the reason I went to work in Portland for 15 months 10 years ago, and his blog reminds me why that was the right call. Check it out.

That's all I have for you right now.
But there'll be more soon. There's always more!

See you on the other side!